Harte now at ease with new system

Mickey Harte has softened his stance on the black card, believing it can be tolerated if referees are consistent.

Tyrone have picked up one black card in their opening couple of Division 1 games and their manager, who was so vociferous in his opposition to it last year, admits it hasn’t yet been a concern for his team.

“Well, it hasn’t become a major issue because they are not being flashed at every turn.

“It’s back to all these things again with all refereeing decisions — if you get consistency you can live with it and they seem to be implementing it in a fairly consistent fashion.

“You are not always going to get them because any day you go out there, you say there’s something that could have been a black card.

“There’s going to be an odd error here and there, but if it’s only an odd error and it is the exception rather than the rule, then we have to live with that.”

However, Harte wouldn’t put the high scores experienced in the opening two rounds completely down to the introduction of the black card.

“People can say that, maybe, and it’s a contribution factor, of course. Maybe it is the fact of how the game is developing. We always say the game evolves, it never stays the same.

“Certain styles of play are more suitable at certain times and people go with the style that seems suitable at any given time. There are a number of factors in there and perhaps the black card is one of them.”

Seán Cavanagh, though, is convinced its arrival has contributed to more positive football. “I have no doubt and I suspected that it would help. Okay, there is that wee bit of ambiguity, you are not sure when a black card is to be given — but players are genuinely afraid to block runs and whenever that happens, you have got a good brand of football.”

Cavanagh, who made his return to action with a substitute’s appearance in the win over Mayo on Sunday, said Tyrone are currently trying to take a leaf out of Dublin’s book with their attacking style.

“You are gambling that you are going to outscore the other team. It’s the Real Madrid style of football. Dublin were by far the best team in Ireland last year. The games we played against Dublin last year we were forced to go man on man and I don’t think we were found wanting. I have a suspicion if we were to do that this year — and that’s the way Mickey and the team is going — we might not be too far away from some of the bigger sides. It proved that out there (against Mayo). We’ll not get too carried away.”


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